On 1 January 2016, attorney at law Thies Leijsen was appointed dean of the Bar Association in Bonaire. He succeeds Anneke van Toll (LLM), who filled the position of dean for more than 6 years. Thies Leijsen is employed by law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne and is a member of the Antillean Jurist Association and of the Supervisory Board for lawyers for the BES islands. Earlier in his career, Thies was an active member of the Bar Association in St. Maarten, where he was chairman of the activities committee.
As the new dean of the Bar Association in Bonaire Thies has a set a few objectives. First of all he wants to see to it that, through legislative advise, the Association will play a larger role in the Dutch legislative process for the BES islands. In addition, Thies will focus on expanding the external communication of the Association, so that more people – notably those seeking justice – get better informed of the possibilities that exist to defend their rights. Finally, Thies wants to contribute to improving the training program of junior associates in Bonaire. In that respect, he finds it important that courses available in the Netherlands are also accessible in Bonaire; for instance through video conferencing or by making sure that the courses can also be taken in Bonaire. Moreover, Thies will commit himself to getting the training program that junior associates attend in Bonaire is also recognized in the Netherlands.